Japan-North Korea Relations
Japan-North Korea Relations

March 5, 2015

Japan's basic policy on North Korea

 Japan seeks to normalize its relations with North Korea, in accordance with the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, through comprehensively resolving outstanding issues of concern such as the abductions, nuclear and missile issues as well as settlement of the unfortunate past.

Abductions issue

 During the 1970’s and 1980’s, many Japanese citizens disappeared under unusual circumstances. Subsequent investigations by the Japanese authorities and testimonies by North Korean agents who had defected revealed that there was a strong possibility that these cases involved abductions conducted by North Korean. At the First Japan-DPRK (The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) summit meeting held in September 2002, North Korea at last admitted for the first time that it had abducted Japanese citizens and apologized while promising to prevent any further recurrence. In October of the same year, five of the victims returned from North Korea to Japan after 24 years. On the other hand, as for other victims whose whereabouts are currently unknown and Pyongyang has yet to provide any acceptable explanations. The remaining victims are still denied all freedoms, having been long detained in North Korea, and to this day await rescue from North Korea. The Government of Japan has so far identified 17 Japanese citizens, including the five that have already returned to Japan, as victims of abduction by North Korea. In addition, there are other cases where the possibility of abduction by North Korea cannot be dismissed.

 In cooperation with the international community, Japan will continue to make its utmost efforts toward the complete resolution of the abductions issue based on the position that the normalization of the relation with North Korea can never be achieved without the resolution of the abductions issue. The abductions issue is a matter of critical importance concerning the sovereignty of Japan and the lives and safety of Japanese citizens. At the same time, it is also a universal issue among the international community as violation of fundamental human rights. For the immediate return of all the abductees, Japan will continue to strongly urge North Korea to take concrete actions. To this end, Japan will seize every diplomatic opportunity to bring up the issue and reach out to the international community.

Security Issues

 Following the two missile launches conducted in 2012, North Korea carried out a nuclear test in February 2013 and repeatedly launched ballistic missiles in 2014 in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions.

 North Korea’s continued nuclear and missile development poses a grave threat not only to the region but also to the entire international community. Japan will continue to closely coordinate with countries concerned including the U.S., the ROK, China and Russia in urging North Korea to refrain from any further provocation and to take concrete actions toward denuclearization and other goals in compliance with the Six-Party Talks Joint Statement and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Recent Developments

(1)March 3, 2014:Japan-North Korea Red Cross Meeting (in Shenyang)
The Japanese and North Korean Red Crosses exchanged views regarding the issues of the remains of Japanese nationals who passed away in North Korea around 1945.
Taking the opportunity, Japan and North Korea held unofficial working-level talks, exchanging views regarding the issues of the remains of Japanese nationals, and the current Japan-North Koera relations.
(2)March 19-20, 2014: Japan-North Korea Red Cross Meeting (in Shenyang)
Experts of Japan and North Korea discussed at a working level on the remains of Japanese nationals who passed away in North Korea around 1945.
Taking the opportunity, Japan and North Korea held unofficial working-level talks and decided to start coordination for the resumption of the Japan-North Korea Government-level Consultations.
(3)March 30-31, 2014: Japan-North Korea Government-level Consultations (in Beijing)
Japan and North Korea had consultations in a frank and candid manner to settle the outstanding issues of concern. Both sides decided to continue consultations.
Japan lodged a strong protest against North Korea concerning the launch of ballistic missiles.
Japan expressed its regret towards the statement issued by the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that North Korea would not rule out the possibility of a new form of nuclear test.
(4)May 26-28, 2014: Japan-North Korea Government-level Consultations (in Stockholm)
Japan and North Korea decided to take actions including;
North Korea will conduct comprehensive and full-scale investigations on all Japanese nationals and establish the Special Investigation Committee invested with special authority to conduct investigations over all the institutions.
Japan will lift part of its measures at the point of time when North Korea establishes the Special Investigation Committee and starts its investigations.
(5)July 1, 2014: Japan-North Korea Government-level Consultations (in Beijing)
Following the consultations held in May, North Korea explained the details of the Special Investigation Committee.
Japan lodged a strong protest against North Korea concerning the launch of ballistic missiles.
(6)July 4, 2014:
North Korea released the details of the Special Investigation Committee and announced the launch of the investigations by the Special Investigation Committee.
Japan lifted part of its measures in accordance with the Consultations in May.
(7)September 29, 2014: Meeting between Diplomatic Authorities (in Shenyang)
North Korea explained that Japan would be able to hear clearer explanation, if a Japanese delegation visits Pyongyang to meet with the members of the Special Investigation Committee.
(8)October 28-29, 2014: Consultations with the Special Investigation Committee (in Pyongyang)
Japan received detailed explanation on the current status of the investigation from North Korea, emphasized its firm position that the abductions issue is most important, and urged North Korea to expeditiously conduct the investigation and to sincerely report the results.